Teachers ‘don’t want to come here’

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Deputy Geoff Southern said he was concerned schools were employing unqualified teachers because fewer experienced professionals wanted to move over.

The St Helier States Member and former teacher warned that action needed to be taken now to make the Jersey package more appealing by improving working conditions in line with the UK.

And he said a ’20 means 20′ tax structure would eclipse the past financial incentive to come to Jersey.

‘We have always relied on Jersey being a wonderful place and people wanting to come here,’ he said.

‘I think that is slowing down and the Jersey factor is no longer working.’ He added: ‘We risk seeing a lowering in the standard of teaching in schools and an increase in existing shortage areas, such as maths and science.

We have already got some people teaching in schools who have not completed their teacher training.’ There are currently five graduate trainee teachers employed in the Island who have not completed their post-graduate certificate of education (PGCE) and four who only hold qualifications to teach those aged over 16.

Recent changes in teachers’ conditions in the UK include staff being given time during the week to deal with administration and the bringing in of new workers to take responsibility for invigilation, lunchtime duties and looking after pupils before and after the official school day has finished.

‘The workload has been made substantially easier in the UK, much more so than here,’ said Deputy Southern.

And he warned that without extra funding to bring Jersey more into line with England, it would become increasingly hard to recruit.

‘I think we need to look at their terms and conditions and act now to establish parity between us and the UK,’ he said.

Deputy Southern added that Education bosses were refusing to reveal the details of so-called exit interviews with staff leaving the Island, which gave an idea of why people were going elsewhere.

An assistant director of Education, Mario Lundy, said that Jersey was being affected by a national shortage of teachers in some subjects, but insisted that the number of candidates applying still showed people wanted to come to the Island.

He added that recruitment trends were constantly under review and any changes in the numbers applying for jobs would be flagged up.

‘Certainly, recruitment has improved in recent years,’ he said, adding that an increase in the number of people entering teacher training because of government-sponsored incentives in the UK had increased the pool of people looking for work.

Mr Lundy added that it was as important for job candidates to demonstrate a strong ability in the classroom as it was for them to have qualifications on paper.

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